Some people felt like they were watching miracles happen before their eyes by the time Sal Landa had worked his magic.
The owner of Horse Tamer Ministry, Landa showed nearly 50 local residents how to communicate better with their animals during a colt-starting seminar at Faith Ranch in North Port.
The show was part of a benefit for Englewood's Bit of Hope Ranch Rescue and Youth Center.
"It's really neat, because he'll explain himself and what he's doing while he's doing it," said Bit of Hope Ranch owner Suzanne Park.
Landa stressed the importance of keeping calm around horses and used techniques that evoked the animals' curiosity in objects that they had been afraid to be around, such as saddles, tarps, plastic bags and trailers.
In the beginning, Estates Trailblazers of North Port President Delores Tricarico watched her Arabian horse, Phoenix, run himself ragged.
"He doesn't like to be caught, he doesn't like to be bridled and he's scared of the saddle," she said.
But an hour later, Landa had Phoenix coming to him, lowering his head to be bridled and allowing Landa to ride him -- even to stand on his back.
"The reason that horse is standing there is because he trusts that guy, and that's phenomenal," said Henry Watson, who was impressed with the fact that Landa draws his techniques from multiple clinicians to find what works best for individual horses.
Landa was happy to be part of the faith-based benefit for Bit of Hope, which pairs children with rescued horses and brings rewards to both.
He said that people are most appreciative of his gentle approach.
"A lot of the time, when you give, you get so much back," he said.
For more information on Bit of Hope, call 474-0098.
For more information on Horse Tamer Ministry, call (305) 491-9234.